This was a fairly radical change for them, one they didn't really care for. But they were determined to make it work, and they certainly did. "Heart" was the first album under this new direction, and it also became their first album to top the Billboard charts. It also brought them their first number one single in "These Dreams", to go with four other hit singles, three of them in the top ten. The album went on to become quintuple platinum.
A trend that began with this album was a move away from the Wilson sisters as writers. Though they did contribute to several of the tracks, writers were brought in from outside to do most of the work. Most notably, "These Dreams" was co-written by longtime Elton John collaborator Bernie Taupin. The song is a lot softer than much of their work, and presents some beautifully vivid imagery.
The whole album is filled with strong pop songs, made stronger by the fantastic voices of Ann and Nancy Wilson. "Never" is a fairly standard pop song from a lyrical standpoint, but the vocals are study when they need to be, strong when they need to be and harmonic in just the right places. "What About Love" is borderline trite, and in other hands may not have even made the album. But the Wilson sisters sell such believability that it works. Their vocals are at their best when in harmony, or when there is a change in tempo and intensity, like towards the end of this song.
One of their best is "Nothin' At All". The vocals completely carry the song; in today's music, that would mean oversinging every word, trying to hit every note possible with every syllable. But here it's a simple consistency, strongly building towards the end. The writing on this one is better than most, but still about average for the pop songs of the day. Like most of the album, the guitars stand out a bit more than much of what was on the radio, but were still a far cry from their "Dreamboat Annie" debut.
Heart has always been an incredibly talented band; unfortunately pop music moved away from what they were playing, forcing them to change. But even a fairly dramatic shift in styles couldn't hold them down for long; "Heart" was not only a huge hit, it was an excellent album. And it wasn't great because of the writing, it was purely on the talents of Ann and Nancy Wilson, the heart of Heart. This album is a rebirth of sorts, the best of Heart's pop era, and a must for their fans.